The first question that I ask a prospective student is, “What inspires you to consider becoming a Massage Therapist?” While I am always happy to sit back and listen to each person’s unique story, there are typically a lot of similarities that led to them picking this career. Things such as: wanting to help others, always felt drawn to this, likes to work with their hands, wants a laid-back work environment, is into health and wellness, some want to start their own business, and many have their own personal stories about how massage therapy has helped them or the people they love. Many students got started working on family (typically mom or grandma) when they were younger, some as early as 5-6 years old!
The next step in the process is to get the schooling that you need. Massage Therapy programs are considered clock hour programs versus credit hour programs because states have minimum training clock hour requirements to become licensed. For example, if you start classes at a 500-hour school and want to work in a state with a 700-hour minimum, you won’t be able to apply for a license without more training. This is a big part of the reason why we offer a 700-hour Massage Therapy training program. Looking at accredited programs or schools like AMBI is another important consideration. Training from an unaccredited school may not be accepted in other states, which can be a real concern as you don’t want to have to take school twice if you move.
When I meet with a new student, I like to ask a lot of questions. I want to learn more about you, and your goals and motivations for attending massage school. We also want to be certain of the fit, both for the school and the student. After I am done asking my questions, I will go over program details, we will tour the facility, and talk through any questions. From there, many students also choose to visit with our financial aid office. We are here to help at each step in the process as we want the students to do well here!
Now that you’ve chosen a school to attend, you will go through your massage program. Programs typically last between 7-15 months depending on whether a full-time or part-time schedule. In my experience (about 13 years), students perform much better and are more successful in a full-time program. It may be a lot to deal with in terms of your job, family responsibilities, and other duties, but you will finish in half the time (half as long to make sacrifices). We do not offer a part-time program at AMBI, and this is why.
Right around graduation time, and before you apply for your license, you will also need to take your MBLEx exam, which is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, or FSMTB. Once you have graduated from school and passed your MBLEx, you can apply for your license. In Virginia, license applications are submitted and approved through the Virginia Board of Nursing. Each state has a licensing agency and would follow a similar, though not identical process. Most licenses take approximately 30-45 days for approval.
Once you have applied for your license, it is a great time to start looking for work as a Massage Therapist. There is a plethora of positions available for Massage Therapists as this continues to be one of the most in-demand career skills that you can have in the country! You want to be applying for work while you are waiting for your license so that you can pick the employer or opportunity that best suits your needs. If there is any training or on-boarding time needed, this is a great time to complete the necessary training. The goal is that you are ready to begin working on clients once your license is approved.
Should you have any questions, please do feel free to reach out to us, we are here to help. As a licensed Massage Therapist, your job is to help people feel better through the power of your touch. What an awesome gift to share with the world!
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